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Valle Crucis Abbey

Valle Crucis Abbey - Overview

The picturesque Cistercian abbey of Valle Crucis was founded in 1201 by Madog ap Gruffudd Maelor, the ruler of Powys Fadog and is situated 2km north of the town of Llangollen. The abbey suffered a fire in 1236 and an inscription high above the west window notes that this part of the building was completed by Abbot Adam (1330-44). During the second half of the fifteenth century, Valle Crucis was reputed for its scholarship, patronage of bards and its collection of Welsh literary manuscripts.

By the time of the dissolution of the monasteries in Britain, under the English King Henry VIII, in 1537, the abbey was already in decline. After the dissolution, the entire estate passed into the ownership of Sir William Pickering who had to strip the buildings of their valuable lead and hand it over to the Crown. This damage to the roof and extensive stone robbing caused Valle Crucis to fall into decay.

By the beginning of the eighteenth century, Valle Crucis had changed ownership multiple times before it was taken over by the Coed Helen estate. Despite the ruinous state of the buildings, the chapterhouse was converted into a farmhouse in 1800, and the former refectory was used as a barn. Many tourists who came to visit the picturesque remains during the Romantic period frequently complained about having to climb over dung heaps!

Archaeological excavations of Valle Crucis began in the 1850s and the site is now maintained by Cadw.

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